Archive for Geert Wilders

Screwup (4)

Posted in Society with tags , , on November 23, 2010 by shirhashirim

The Netherlands has a new government. I blogged before about the formation of it and indicated the worst of all possibilities. Well, an even worse option materialised: a minority coalition between Christian Democrats and Liberals, supported by the fiercely anti-islamic PVV of mr. Wilders, who is now functionally part of the government, without actually being part of it and bearing responsibility. The coalition has only a one seat majority.

The PVV is staunchly hard on crime. Mr. Wilders is even on record for having said that ‘street criminals’ should be kneecapped, and criminals with a double nationality should be deprived of their Dutch citizenship and sent back to the country of their other nationality. It’s coarse statements like these that earned him his electorate. It now seems such a staunch and coarse outlook on society has backfired.

Somehow, political parties like this attract the wrong people. Within a few months of coming to power, the PVV has had to deal with several members of parliament that turned out to be the very street and other types of criminals it purports to battle. Before that, there were some odd newsreels too. A small list of disasters.

Mr. Brinkman, who I september 2009 was said to have hit a barman while inebriated. He denied having hit the man, but admitted to having a drinking problem. A while later charges were filed against him for attempted manslaughter by a builder who was refurbishing a farmhouse for him. The case was dismissed conditionally.

Mr. Graus, who in 2003 faced charges by two women for stalking, abuse and threats, who was claimed to have abused his eight months pregnant wife and threatened to kill his father in law. None of the charges were followed up on.

Mr. Sharpe, who had been fined by the Hungarian authorities for misleading his clients when he ran a company over there and who as an athlete had been suspended for half a year for assaulting a fellow athlete. Mr. Sharpe did the honorable thing and left parliament when all this came out in november 2010.

Mr. Lucassen, who has been actually convicted in 2002 of illicit relationships with a subordinate while serving in the army and has several charges filed against him for terrorising his neighbours. He kept silent about all this when he was selected by Mr. Wilders as a potential member of parliament. Mr. Lucassen refused to leave parliament, forcing Mr. Wilders to stand behind him, as kicking him out of the party would have meant losing the one seat needed for the government majority.

Mr. de Mos, who was found out in november 2010 to have lied on his resumé. He claimed to have been the director of a school. He also said so during an interview, but he had just been a teacher. First he tried to wriggle his way out by claiming he was cited wrongly, then it turned out the interview was taped.

Mr. van Bemmel, whose company went bankrupt and was accused by his curator of fraud. He claimed mr. van Bemmel took out money from the company just before it went bust, thus depriving creditors of their money. The legal procedures are still pending.

Mr. Hernandez, who in september 2010 was arrested for assault and spent a night in a police cell. The fight was caught on camera and procedures are still pending.

Mr. Wilders, whose party has 24 seats in parliament, has in the past years consistently made a point of the high crime rates among youths of Moroccan descent, an issue that is linked to Islam in his circles. This is not propaganda, but a real problem: crime rates among youths of Moroccan descent vary between 5.8% and 13.8%.

However, mr. Wilders may now potentially be looking at a staggering 29% among his own members of parliament.

Screwup (2)

Posted in Society with tags , , , on June 11, 2010 by shirhashirim

I blogged before about Geert Wilders and his now long forgotten film Fitna, and how he screwed it up big time. Now it’s not just mr. Wilders any more, it seems the Dutch electorate has screwed up, big time. Last Wednesday we had parliamentary elections. Here are the results.

The winners

VVD – 31 seats (from 22)
Liberals (in the classical sense) and neoliberals, generally regarded as right-of-middle. Favours leaving public interests to the market, shuns high taxes. Often termed a party for rich people. Their 2010 program promised the strongest cuts in public finance of all major parties.

PVV 24 seats (from 9)
Mr. Wilders party. Positions itself as an anti-Islam, anti-left, anti-establishment, anti-intellectual, anti-European Union and pro-Israel party. Mostly generates voters among those who’ve never seen a Muslim. Is downright left where it comes to social-economic viewpoints, but right when it comes to immigration and public safety.

D66 10 seats (from 3)
Nondescript, left-wing liberals (in the classical sense of the word). As a rule lose support when in government, gain support when in the opposition. Favour many innovations in politics like a chosen mayor and introducing elections by districts (as in the UK, where their closest counterpart heavily opposes the district system).

GL 10 seats (from 7)
Old-time left, termed ‘green left’ because they have always made much work of the environment

The losers

CDA – 21 seats (from 41)
Christian Democrats, generally regarded as a party that takes middle ground. Since 1918, apart from 1994-2002, they have always been in government. Skillfully run aground by our prime minister mr. Balkenende whose four successive cabinets all foundered before their time (2002-2010).

PvdA 30 seats (from 33)
Social democrats, officially, but mostly a bit left of the middle, workers party. Has been in government almost always.

SP 15 seats (from 25)
Old-time socialists with a modern and slightly populistic twist. Considered ‘left’, but have a position on immigration that resembles the right more. Rich, because members working for the party are required to hand over their salary. They get a standard fee in return.

CU 5 seats (from 6)
Traditional to fundamentalist Christians. Opposed to abortion, same-sex marriages and shopping on Sundays. Traditionally considered ‘right wing’, but their social-economic viewpoints tend to differ very little from those of the left-wing parties.

the Steadies

SGP 2 seats (from 2)
Fundamentalist Christians, notorious for their opposition to voting rights for women. Despite its fringe status, it has produced a few well respected members of parliament. Their social-economic viewpoints too tend to differ little from those of the left-wing parties.

PvdD 2 seats (from 2)
The animals party, big on animal rights.

As you can see, the political middle is vanishing. Never before have the major parties had so few seats. Never before has anyone so disruptive gained so much support among the Dutch populace. One coalition seems to be the major focus of negotiations now: VVD, PVV and CDA, with a minimum majority of exactly 76 seats. Another option is a coalition called ‘purple’ of VVD, PvdA, D66 and (e.g.) GL, but the major party leaders don’t see that as an option yet, even though it has a bigger majority (81) and no PVV in it.

Mr. Wilders has the honor of being the first screwup Dutch politician to break his promises. Before the elections he was strictly opposed to raising the retirement age from 65 to 67. It was considered non-negotiable. In less than 24 hours, even before any negotiations have started he has reneged on that.

Screwup

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , on April 2, 2008 by shirhashirim

lelijk-geertje.jpg

After a long series of postponements Geert Wilders -the infamous Dutch member of parliament- has now finally issued his anti-qur’an movie Fitna. A few weeks ago I predicted he would win, no matter what. I was convinced his approach was as fail safe as it was loathsome. Well, I was wrong. He screwed up big time.

First he used Kurt Westergaard‘s ‘Muhammad with bomb in his turban’-cartoon without permission. He’s being sued about it by the Danish Union of Journalists. Then he erroneously used the portrait of a Dutch rapper from Moroccan descent in lieu of the portrait of Theo van Gogh’s murderer Muhammad B. The rapper is going to sue him too. And finally Dutch television-maker Rob Muntz is going to take him to court over the unauthorised use of one of his interviews. Wilders is getting into trouble for lots of things, but not because of Muslims reacting violently.

As planned Moroccan mosques in the Netherlands opened their doors to visitors. No church was burned, no window even smashed. Muslims all over the Netherlands expressed their relief: Fitna was old news, badly done cut-and-paste work, not at all shocking. Nevertheless, some Muslims filed complaints. That’s something you do without bricks or Molotov cocktails.

To top it all off, Wilders -who has consistently refused to discuss his views with Muslims over the past years- has now announced he wants to open discussions with them. It seems Muslims -at least in the Netherlands- are now totally uninterested in discussing anything with him.

Rightly so, if you ask me. If you manage to screw up even this -pardon my French- why should anyone take you seriously?

Wilders wins, no matter what…

Posted in Society with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2008 by shirhashirim

…and his film doesn’t even have to come out!

(Note: most links in this post are in Dutch, not all of them though…)

If you want to talk about how to set up a teaser campaign, ask Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders. Since last year he has been announcing his film about the Qur’an. It’s going to be critical, maybe even derogatory. First it was due end of January, then it was postponed. Now the title has been announced (Fitna, an Arabic word meaning ‘anarchy’, ‘strife’, ‘civil war’ and ‘disbelief’) and last week the ending of the film was -half- revealed: an image of the prophet Muhammad. Something is supposed to happen with it, but he doesn’t say what. Now rumours are around that the film will come out on March 25th, the birthday of Muhammad. It seems everything is intended to maximise the level of irritation for Muslims. But so far, absolutely nothing has really happened, except talk. And it’s damn effective, even if you don’t agree with it.

Meanwhile on the opposing side things are happening. A nationwide organisation of Moroccan Muslims announced all Moroccan mosques were going to open their doors to visitors on the day Wilder’s film comes out. It also announced it was going to file charges against the man for discriminating against Muslims. Another Muslim group started a friendly action: send Geert a cudly bear and give him the attention he so badly needs. Visitors can also choose to send him a verse from the Qur’an stating that God may yet cause love between enemies. Dutch Multicultural Broadcasting (MTNL) has already made de Tegenfilm (‘the Counter-Film’). Dutch member of parliament Tofik Dibi has announced his own counter-film. To top it all Dutch broadcasting KRO wanted to make a third one, according to Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. It’s going to be a film that treats the Bible exactly the way Wilders is supposedly going to treat the Qur’an. That idea has now been revoked, it seems due to internal power struggles within KRO. Pity. KRO is a Catholic broadcasting corporation…

Internationally things are just as wild. Pakistan has blocked YouTube for a while, Iran has requested the Dutch government to censure the film, or they’ll have to ‘reconsider’ their diplomatic relations with the Netherlands, al-Qaeda apparently has issued a fatwa (something al-Qaeda is not licensed to do according to Islamic teachings, but who cares?) calling for Wilder’s death and thus proving Wilder’s point that Islam is a violent religion. Al-Qaeda as Wilder’s best ally, surely reality beats fiction?

And meanwhile, his film is still not out…

…and it doesn’t need to. Despite friendly actions on the Muslim side that try to canalise the anger that the upcoming film is bound to generate, Wilders has statistics on his side. According to Wikipedia there are 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. If only one tenth of a percent of those decide to take offence and only one tenth of a percent of that group decides to turn their anger into violent action, we’ve still got 1500 idiots on the loose. More than enough to generate the newsreels that Wilders needs to perpetuate the claim Islam is a violent religion.

Quote of the day (1)

Posted in Quote of the day with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2008 by shirhashirim

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written, that is all.

Oscar Wilde

I found this quote on a muslim site as an introduction to a posting that asked whether Oscar Wilde really was right in saying this. The text caught my eye for a completely different reason.

I read it with Geert Wilders’ upcoming film in the back of my head. Geert Wilders is a Dutch politician known -among other things- for his plea to forbid the Qur’an. He’s now planning to issue a film about it, and it’s not going to be friendly…

Wilders himself claims he’s read the Qur’an hundreds of times. That’s a lot, for someone who has a job as a politician. In his view the book contains lots of violence, intolerance and hate, just like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. However, millions of muslims read quite different things into it. It’s unfortunate that there are too many muslims who seem to agree with Wilders, but that does not deny the fact that Wilders’ assertions about the Qur’an are open to discussion.

Loads of people are feeling apprehensive about Wilders’ upcoming film. Muslims fear yet another insult to their religion, non-muslims fear muslim violence. All because of a book. Oscar Wilde’s quote puts things in a proper perspective: it’s no use labeling a book ‘immoral’, people are.

If we forbid the Qur’an today, tomorrow it’ll be Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (e.g.) and before you know it, we’ve reintroduced the Index of forbidden books. Monty Python was right: you never expect the Spanish Inquisition.